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Barkat Masih
Barkat Masih
PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASPHEMY ACQUITTED ON APPEAL

January 28, 2013: The Pakistani Christian community can celebrate the acquittal on appeal of a man sentenced to death for blasphemy. Barkat Masih, 56, was born to a Hindu family but converted to Christianity.  A native of the city of Bahawalpur in Punjab province, he was involved in a case of blasphemy on October 1, 2011, and was sentence in the first instance to the death penalty.
Local sources said that the man, a security guard by profession, git caught up in a workers dispute, who wanted to illegally occupy a portion of land. He prevented them from entering an office, where property documents were stored. At his refusal, two Muslim workers - Muhammad Saleem and Muhammad Shoaib - insulted and threatened him, and promised to "make him pay." They reported him to police, who carried arrested him on charges of having insulted the Prophet Muhammad, a crime that can lead to the death penalty under Article 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code. However, after spending 18 months in prison on 28 January, Judge Javed Ahmed of Bahawalpur High Court upheld the appeal and acquitted the accused because the crime does not exist.
Human rights activists and Christian leaders are satisfied with the judgment, a positive signal for many similar cases in the future. The NGO World Vision In Progress, which supported the man's defense, is happy with the verdict and speaks of "the beginning of a change." Haroon Barkat Masih, president of the Masihi Foundation, points out that the blasphemy laws are exploited to "target the marginalized communities" and that charges "are tantamount to a death sentence." For this reason he hopes that the case is an important "precedent" and that "necessary changes" be made to the law. Finally, Fr. Nawaz George, a priest of the Diocese of Lahore, committed to defending the rights of Christians, expresses his "delight" at the release of an "innocent person" who kept "firm in his faith." "We hope that this fact - he concludes - may bring new hope to people who are in prison, waiting for justice to be done." (Sources: asianews.it, 30/01/2013)

INDIA: 43-YEAR-OLD SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RAPING, MURDERING MINOR
SAUDI ARABIA: ‘BLOOD MONEY’ RESCUES DOOMED FILIPINO FROM EXECUTION
NIGERIA: COURT SENTENCES VARSITY WORKER TO DEATH
YEMEN: SCORES ON HUNGER STRIKE IN PRISON AFTER '15-YEAR-OLD' BOY SENTENCED TO DEATH
SAUDI ARABIA: 2 MURDERERS EXECUTED
IRAN: FIVE MEN HANGED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
EGYPT: GRAND MUFTI APPROVES DEATH PENALTY FOR 'INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS' PRODUCERS
IRAN: TWO MEN HANGED FOR RAPE, MURDER
USA: NEW BILLS ON THE DEATH PENALTY
BANGLADESH: 2 SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR BLASTS IN SHARIATPUR
NORTH KOREA: MAN EXECUTED AFTER MURDERING HIS TWO CHILDREN FOR FOOD
UAE: FAMILY PARDON SAVES KILLER
IRAN: MAN HANGED IN MIANEH PRISON
INDIA: SUPREME COURT COMMUTES DEATH TO LIFE TO FATHER WHO RAPED DAUGHTER AND KILLED HER AND HIS WIFE
IRAN: SEVEN PEOPLE HANGED
EGYPT: CLASHES ERUPT AFTER COURT SENTENCES 21 TO DEATH IN FOOTBALL RIOT
IRAN: HANGINGS AND AMPUTATION OF FINGERS
GERMANY: BUNDESBANK LIMITS CHINA COOPERATION ON DEATH PENALTY
INDIA: DALAI LAMA SAYS DELHI GANG RAPISTS SHOULD NOT BE EXECUTED, DEATH PENALTY NOT THE ANSWER
BAHRAIN: APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS SENTENCES OVER POLICE MURDER
IRAN: JUDICIAL HEAD DEFENDS PUBLIC HANGING OF ROBBERS
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN PARDONED AFTER 18 YRS ON DEATH ROW
IRAN: THREE PRISONERS HANGED IN QAZVIN PRISON
BELARUS: DEATH PENALTY ABOLITION DELAYED
ILLINOIS (USA): EX GOVERNOR GEORGE RYAN SET FOR HALFWAY HOUSE
SAUDI ARABIA: 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES SENT TO FIGHT IN SYRIA
VIETNAM TO PRODUCE POISON FOR LETHAL INJECTION
IRAQ: TAREQ AZIZ 'DEPRESSED, SEEKS SPEEDY EXECUTION'
INDONESIA: BRITISH WOMAN GETS DEATH SENTENCE FOR DRUG SMUGGLING
MALAYSIA: NIGERIAN STUDENT SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING

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IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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